This year’s Bucking Horse Sale was a big success, with Saturday’s admission probably among the highest attendance, and Thursday night’s concert “the biggest we’ve had for the Bucking Horse Sale, that’s for sure,” said Rick Flotkoetter of the Bucking Horse Sale Board of Governors.
The Diamond Rio concert brought in 1,500 people, while tickets sold for Bucking Horse Sale were for 1,943 people Friday, 5,150 Saturday and 2,222 on Sunday.
That doesn’t count the buyers or the people involved with the horse racing, Flokoetter said.
“The crowds were well behaved and the weather was perfect,” he said.
For horse racing, Don Richard of the Bucking Horse Sale Board said, “We had super weather and super crowds. Mother’s day was probably a record, and the Bucking Horse Sale on Saturday and Sunday was way up.”
He said most years Miles City has had “rain-outs, rain delays, and then there’s the MudBowl of 2000, but this year we were without any major weather problems.”
The cold spring did hamper the number of Thoroughbred horses in the races, since they take longer to train and the weather wasn’t good for training.
“There were a lot of Quarter Horses and paints. A lot of people showed up,” he said.
Richard attributes the large crowds at the Bucking Horse Sale to the nice weather, publicity, the Commerce Department promoting the event, and he believed having more motel rooms played a role.
“That has a lot to do with it,” he said.
People enjoy being in town for the weekend and Miles City has had more space to offer in recent years, with additional motels and ample camping space in local campgrounds and on the grounds of the Eastern Montana Fairgrounds.
Richard said the horse racing and match bronc ride brought in $17,000, “which is probably the highest handle we’ve had.”
The race horse owners were “very appreciative” that Miles City still has horse racing and heard people expressing their thanks several times over the weekend.
On a sad note, a longtime friend of horse racing in Miles City, Ron Cook of Wyoming, died of a heart attack Friday while on his way to the Bucking Horse Sale. Richard said Cook helped out Miles City many times over the years. Two of Cook’s horses won in races here over the weekend.
As for the bucking horses, MIles City Livestock Commission’s Office Manager Eileen Wright said in the open sale there were 19 barebacks bucked out. The top bareback sold for $900, and the average price was $350.
In the saddlebronc there were 17 head bucked out, at an average price of $750. The top selling horse went for $2,900.
In the bulls section, 14 head were bucked out at an average price of $1,500. The top price was $2,250.